Social worker struck off for having second job as home care worker

HCPC panel decided working both night and day put service users at risk

Photo: Image Source/ Rex_Shutterstock

A social worker has been struck off the register for moonlighting as a home care worker and lying to her employer about her second job.

A Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) panel heard the social worker, who was contracted to work 37 hours for Luton council, had taken additional employment resulting in her working a total of 57 hours a week.

This exposed her service users to potential harm, according to the panel.

Payroll inconsistency

Her undisclosed second job with Harrow council was discovered when the National Fraud Initiative flagged up an inconsistency in payroll data.

The initiative, which compares electronic data between public and private sector bodies, found the social worker appeared on the payrolls for both local authorities.

The social worker’s contract with Luton stated clearly she was not allowed to undertake any employment, either paid or unpaid, which could create a conflict of interest with the council.

The social worker claimed she had disclosed her second job to her line manager at Luton council in writing and was “surprised and disappointed” he did not recollect the letter.

Very little sleep

The letter she produced as evidence was later found to have been created on Luton’s electronic system when her employer began an investigation into her alleged misconduct.

Her line manager told the panel he would not have given the registrant permission to have a second job which required staying awake all night. But, the social worker said the hours of work she put in were not an issue because she required very little sleep.

The HCPC panel noted the social worker had given contradictory evidence, first claiming she had made a conscious decision not to disclose her second job, because she did not see it as relevant, and then claiming she had not understood the form in which she was supposed to disclose additional employment.

‘Inconsistent and untruthful’

She also initially claimed to not understand why the letter disclosing the information seemed to have been created during her investigation by her employer, and later claimed she created the copy because she could not find the original.

The panel stated the social worker gave “inconsistent and, at times, untruthful reasons and excuses for her actions”.

It also found she had attempted to shift the blame onto others for her situation including accusing a former line manager of withholding evidence.

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22 Responses to Social worker struck off for having second job as home care worker

  1. Academic October 6, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    Interesting example of more double standards applied to Social Workers in relation to other professionals. Recently the tabloids made a huge issue (quite rightly) over Locum Doctor’s earning between £250K and £500K. I think we would all be concerned over our loved ones being treated by a Doctor who was working…….yes wait for it……an average of 77 hours per week!! and then trying to make rationale decisions about care . The social worker in this case was working 57 hours and the reason stated for her dismissal and striking off the register was for putting service users at potential harm, The health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is fully aware of this situation in relation to Doctors ordering a set limit for the shift pay they can get (not a reduction in hours), yet I do not hear any calls for these professionals to be put before their professional regulator.

    • sonia October 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      Farcical…. how many working mums working full time with dependent children would meet the unsafe criteria? Just because parenting is unpaid it dosnt make any less impact on the individual. Additionally, how many social workers work in excess of these hours by taking work home.

  2. Semi October 6, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    That means i am not allowed to work a second job as a social worker otherwise I’ll be struck off.
    I still wonder where employer responsibility comes in to this, we don’t get paid well which is why this person obviously took a second job yet there is no appreciation for our circumstances.

    Utter nonsense.

    This is a case that should be appealed.

    • Steve Hall October 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

      But remember that for them to Appeal – they have to self fund their appeal to the High Court within 30 days of the HCPC decision. If the High Court do not find in her favour, then the High Court would award the costs incurred by the HCPC Dr their legal team. This woman would likely find herald with a bill of £40,000.
      This is why NOT ONE SOCIAL WORKER has appealed to the High Court. The system is very biased against social workers.

  3. xyz October 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    I wonder how many nurses are doing the same and why no questions asked!

    Poor pay for SWs is the source of all these problems.

    I think BASW should challenge this sort of decisions. It is for disciplinary rather anything else.

  4. Tom Patterson October 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Interesting that I don’t put service users at risk working 60 hours a week for the local authority ( but only getting paid for 37) but I would if I worked somewhere else for 20?

    Is that not a power and control thing rather than an honest concern.

    Yes lying to your employer is an issue; but its alight if the lie is ” everyone in the team is happy” ; or ” yes all our cases are being deal with professionally and are up to date.

    Really ? Really?

  5. DaveR October 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    I think the real isssue for the HCPC was that she was dishonest…. It would appear that she deliberately fabricated a false instrament (the copy letter) to mislead both the local authority and the HCPC.

  6. Sally October 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    The deception about her job was definitely wrong, but if a 57 hour week is dangerous practice, lots of us are certainly in trouble! A sizable proportion of the Children’s Services social workers I know work 50-60 hour weeks, despite our contract reading as 37 hours/week. Our caseloads simply won’t fit into a 37 hour week.

    If the HCPC are serious about limiting hours worked by social workers, they need to be raising that systemically and enforcing consequences for councils which allow unreasonable caseloads.

  7. Phil Sanderson October 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    Perhaps HCPC will start investigating and striking off those of us working a 60 hour week in one job!! They will certainly have a lot of cases to get through!

  8. Tracey Morris October 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Please apply this rationale to Residential Care Professionals. A 57 hr week is commonplace. We work 37 hours per week plus ‘sleep ins’ . Sleep is not the usual experience of those sleeping in. As the people we care for often need support through the night. Double standards.

    • Dan October 7, 2015 at 6:53 am #

      If you are paid for s sleep-in, and you are woken up, you should actually be paid for the hours you are awake. Sleep-in payment should really be treated like an on call rate. If you are needing to wake up and work on a regular basis, your manager should be speaking with the funding authorities to advise that a waking night is now required. The whole idea of a sleep in is that you are are only called upon in an absolute emergency. You should also check that you are being paid with the framework of the new working time directive.

      In the case explored here, the reason for the dismissal is clearly more to do with her dishonesty, and the fact that she was working night and day in succession, rather than too many hours.

  9. Sy October 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    I guess we all better start working to rule then because I don’t know a single social worker who only works their 37 contract. The only difference I see hear is that this social worker happened to be paid for that work!

  10. Anita Singh October 7, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    So what about a government and most local authorities who function because of the good will of staff who work ridiculous hours. Oh no, I forgot, that would be the fault of the social worker for not self-regulating their hours would it not? I regularly and frequently work the ridiculous hours, in order to produce the red tape that most LAs seem to love and just in case Ofsted should pop in.

  11. Peter Palladas October 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    Am saddened, though not surprised, by the number of commentators trying to excuse her actions, or to indulge in ‘whataboutery’ regarding length of hours worked per week. ‘Moonlighting’ on days off or at weekends is one thing, but to have a day job and then a night job and then back to the day job – that is reckless, dangerous and utterly contemptuous of the people she was paid to provide a service to.

    The Panel also found her ‘inconsistent’, ‘contradictory, ‘untruthful’ and blame-shifting. You find any of that excusable or acceptable? This the sort of person you would want as a colleague? This the sort of person you would want looking after a friend, a family member, a loved one or, indeed, yourself? How about a simple and straightforward condemnation of her actions, not just using this as an occasion to moan about the pressures of the job?

  12. Kirsten Hey October 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    You’re missing the point. She was supposed to disclose a second job to her employer and she didn’t. She wasn’t just working longer hours than standard, she was working day shift and night shift and going without adequate sleep. And then, when she was questioned, she tried to cover her tracks, and she lied.

    If she needed a second job, she could have discussed with her employer and ensured the second job didn’t affect her ability to do her first job, like lots of other people do.

  13. alice October 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    This is ridiculous, mental health doctors, doctors and nurses worked several hours per week, they never get penalised. this is unfair on the social worker trying to meet end means. Some even employed secretary to type their reports. They are making thousands of pounds weekly. This policy should be reviewed social worker don’t get enough pay anyway..

  14. Adam Birchall October 7, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    I agree with many points made on here, but I think the headline is misleading. It’s clear to me that she was deregistered because she compromised her professional integrity, not simply because she had a second job. She also agreed not to work another job, but did.

  15. flo joseph October 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    It’s quite sad but hope she learns from her mistakes

  16. Anita Singh October 8, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    There have been a number of comments that appear to support that the HCPC decision that the worker should be struck off the register because of her actions. I do not think that her actions should be ignored or dismissed. However, I do think the reaction is harsh. There is no comment about the underlying reasons for the workers’ actions, no reference to what was done to improve her fitness to practice, get her to stop working so much and warning her of the consequences in terms of her registration. The HCPC’s response to strike her off seems draconian. A bit like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. The comments posted in reaction may sadden some. However, the reaction is in the context of a culture of blame, harsh penalties for anyone who does anything wrong, threats to prosecute social workers and a blameworthy profession. For example, not that long ago, a social worker was hauled before the HCPC for making derogatory political comments about David Cameron. The HCPC appear to be dealing with anything and everything that comes to their attention, whether it is justified or not. I am surprised that there have not been more legal challenges and compensation claims arising from unjustified and frivolous cases. The HCPC increasingly looks like an organisation that is being used by employers to deal with employment matters under the guise of fitness to practice. Clearly making comments about Cameron are nothing to do with fitness to practice, but that worker still found himself in front of the HCPC, without any thought for the immense stress that he would have been put under and we are not paying for the HCPC to be dealing with such frivolous matters, or to deal with justified cases in such a harsh manner.

    Comments that it is reckless, dangerous and utterly contemptuous of the people she was paid to provide a service to. When Employers place workers under immense pressure due to dangerously high caseloads, to work very long hours, where they are not getting enough sleep, is as equally dangerous and utterly contemptuous of the organisations that are being given budgets to pay for those services. But this happens far more frequent and for thousands of social workers every day. Who brings them to boot over this?

  17. J Smith October 8, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    For examples of how HCPC spends your money, see What Do They Know requests by J Taylor. They spend money on Christmas meals for all staff and a summer barbecue, which has recently included a photographer to take photos of each department:

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/j_taylor_3

  18. Florence Nightingale October 8, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    Dear All
    I would respectfully ask you to consider a number of points relating to this outrage………Firstly, yes she was dishonest but it is not explained why, after securing a position of service manager, she felt the need to work in another role. Maybe she enjoyed a role away from Social Work but the hearing does not give the details as the HCPC are selective in what they record owing to their own position of what is in the public’s interest to know.
    The social worker attended the hearing which is difficult alone, for anyone who has been before the HCPC it is a challenging experience owing to the fact that around 14 HCPC employers are in the room with you, which alone feels oppressive. The standards are high and as the HCPC do not give any guidance regarding the process of the hearing, you are made to feel thrown to the lions – There is no room for error. Unfortunately as the social worker pulled the “English is not my first language card” She would have undoubtedly shot herself in the foot.
    However, there were no conduct and competence issues raised, she practised for a long time. Now she is at risk of losing her home unless she has a supportive working partner and her mental health will be adversely affected.
    Where is BASW? It is my view that she needs to appeal this decision and I am happy to offer support to her having personal experience of the oppressive procedure she has just experienced – Humans make mistakes – we all do, I do not believe she should be vilified for wanting to earn extra money.
    As said I am happy to offer support to find a way to challenge the decision and give you personal support – If you are reading this and need support please contact Community Care.